Can patients identify what triggers their back pain? Secondary analysis of a case-crossover study

Patricia Do Carmo Silva Parreira*, Chris G. Maher, Jane Latimer, Daniel Steffens, Fiona Blyth, Qiang Li, Manuela L. Ferreira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this case-crossover study was to investigate the extent to which patients can accurately nominate what triggered their new episode of sudden-onset acute low back pain (LBP). We interviewed 999 primary care patients to record exposure to 12 standard triggers and also asked the patients to nominate what they believed triggered their LBP. Exposure to the patient-nominated trigger during the case window was compared with exposure in the control window. Conditional logistic regression models were constructed to quantify the risk of LBP onset associated with the patient-nominated trigger. Sensitivity analyses were conducted varying the duration and timing of case/control windows. We compared the extent to which patient-nominated triggers matched standard triggers. The odds ratios for exposure to patient-nominated triggers ranged from 8.60 to 30.00, suggesting that exposure increases the risk of LBP. Patients' understanding of triggers however seems incomplete, as we found evidence that while some of the standard triggers were well recognised (such as lifting heavy loads), others (such as being distracted during manual tasks) were under-recognised as possible triggers of an episode of LBP. This study provides some evidence that patients can accurately nominate the activity that triggered their new episode of sudden-onset acute LBP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1913-1919
Number of pages7
JournalPain
Volume156
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Low back pain
  • Observational
  • Risk factors

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